Aptera Spiritual AncestorsPosted by ray-holan on October 7, 2021 at 2:46 pm
I found it interesting to look back at past vehicles and consider which ones have DNA similar to the Aptera. I’m curious if other reservation holders have owned any of these “Aptera Distant Cousins”.
In no particular order:
The Two Seater Gene
Mazda Miata — A simple and reliable Japanese version of a Lotus Elan
Saturn Sky or Pontiac Solstice
Honda Insight (2000-2006) version
Lotus — Europa, Elan, Esprit, Elise, Evora (Yes, they love the letter “E”.)
The Lightweight Gene
Honda Insight (2000-2006) version is about 1,850 – 1,925 lbs.
Lotus — Elan (1,900-2,200 lbs), Europa (1,350-1,570 lbs.), and Elise (about 2,000 lbs.)
Mazda Miata 2400 lbs. — steel body vs. aluminum for Honda and composite for Lotus
The Three-wheel Gene
Dymaxion — Buckminster Fuller design from 1933 (two front wheels with single rear) – only 3 prototypes were built
Davis Divan — made in 1948 (single front wheel and two rear wheels) – only 16 were made
Reliant Robin — (single front wheel and two rear wheels) – made in England for 30 yrs.
Morgan — (two front wheels with single rear) – made in England
Pulse — two main wheels with two small outrigger wheels; like Aptera it was classified as Motorcycle in most states despite its having 4 wheels
The Aerodynamics Gene
Saab 96 (0.32 coefficient of drag)
Lotus Europa (0.29 coefficient of drag)
Honda Insight (0.25 coefficient of drag)
Pulse (0.193 coefficient of drag) Vehicle was manufactured between 1982-1990
The EV Gene
Toyota Prius (yeah, I know — not a pure EV but initially had a futuristic vibe like the Aptera)
Gizmo EV — a three-wheeler with lead-acid batteries
Any Tesla model
- This discussion was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by bbelcamino.
MemberOctober 7, 2021 at 3:28 pm
I have a Kia Niro EV…
But what about the Vanderhall Edison 2? It’s electric… 3 wheeler…
MemberOctober 7, 2021 at 8:03 pm
First, any of the first round of EVs, including compliance cars like the Fiat 500e (for all intents and purposes a 2-seater) and the Smart four 2 EV – which was not only an EV but a two-seater are cars that appealed to early adopters. (As a 2-seater the ICE-powered Smart Fourtwo has sold over 1,000,000 units world wide in the last 20 or so years).
The Chevy Volt went a long way toward rebuilding GM’s reputation as the company that killed the electric car. BTW: I don’t think anyone ‘owned’ a Chevrolet EV1 as GM recalled all but a few examples destined for museums as all were leased and crushed.
You also left the SparkEV of which only a little over 7,400 examples were made from your list. This was the first Chevy pure EV available for ownership. It even won the KBB award in ’14 and ’15 among plug-ins for five year cost of ownership and that was based on the depreciation of ICE-powered Sparks. This low cost of ownership is confirmed by my experience as the ’14 Spark EV I bought three years ago with just over 10,000 miles actually is retailing at 51,000 miles for more than the $9,000 I paid.
My expenses? Eight (cheap) all-weather tires (heavy foot combined with the ability to get scratch at >45mph) and a wheel bearing. The cost of the electricity was totally off-set by the special EV-rate offered by my EMC – I.e. my overall electric bill is smaller now than it was before I got the EV.
Bottom line, this car makes me believe Elon Musk might be right when he suggested people might buy EVs as an investment. I mean, if I could sell mine for the same $10,500 advertised on Carvana, I’d come out with a profit for driving the car 40,000 miles.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 10:04 am
My FWD 1969 Saab 96 was a great snow car. The Ford V4 engine and freewheel option combined for great gas mileage, compared with most other cars of that time. Skinny tall tires, a clean undercarriage, wheel wells designed to reduce snow buildup, a great heater and defroster. Included Headrests and shoulder belts before any American cars. No wonder it was a successful rally car. Plus the back seat could be removed to haul lumber. Later Saabs lost their aircraft inspired design.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 10:51 am
I’ve never owned a sports car. I was never a car guy, it wasn’t until I stumbled onto the Volt that I got interested, that’s because I’m a tech guy and EVs are a tech product as well as a car. For all of my life I regarded a car as a consumable of no particular interest, I’d buy a new one and drive it until it had to be towed away which would be in 10 or 11 years when everything would start to fail. Each new car was a little better than the last one but I never felt the need to buy a luxury car, I didn’t see them having value for money. The end of the ICE line for me was a Chrysler 300C which I bought in 2005, I wanted a V8 before they were banned. When the 300C was about to die I traded it in on a Volt, that was the first trade in that I ever did but it was a near thing. It would have failed it’s next inspection because the catalytic converters were shot. My father was the same way, every car he ever owned was towed away. One was even towed away by the police from in front of our house because a neighbor had reported it as abandoned, they could believe that anyone on our block would drive a rusty sh*tbox like that.
Finding the Volt was an accident. When the service people at a Chrysler dealer gave me the bad news about my 300C I went upstairs and test drove the 2016 300, it was awful. Mine was a Daimler Chrysler and the new one was a Fiat Chrysler and the difference was apparent. It was the new eight speed transmission that put me off because it was constantly hunting for gears. I then went across the street to the Chevy dealer, I asked them if they had any AWD sedans and they said no, I turned around and started to walk out when I saw a poster for the Volt. At the time I knew nothing about EVs and they weren’t on my radar because I thought they would be like the Prius which I had test driven the last time I was car shopping, the Prius terrified me because of it’s awful performance. As a lark I asked to test drive the Volt, as soon as I put my foot down I realized that there was a paradigm shift. It was quick and silent an importantly had no transmission so it was smooth. I then did my due diligence and test drove a Honda, a Cadillac and an Audi as well as testing the Volt again. Only the Audi didn’t have transmission problems because they were still using a five speed, but it still had the transmission hump down the center and it just didn’t feel as good as the Volt. I bought the Volt and that turned me into an EV enthusiast. The Volt was a bit frustrating because it didn’t have quite enough EV range, in the summer I could push it to 72 miles by taking back roads instead of highways but in winter I could only get 60 miles if I kept the heat off which was one block short of being able to do my once a week commute, I’d get to the head of my street and the engine turned on. The Volt was great in electric mode but when the engine turned on it’s noise annoyed the hell out of me.
After I bought the Volt I started to monitor the SuperCharger network to see when it would be good enough in New England for me to get a Tesla. It took three years but in 2019 Maine got lit up and that’s when I bought a Model 3 AWD. I gave the Volt to my sister because for the first time in my life I bought a new car before the old one was a pile of junk.
I’ve reached the point in my life when I’m willing to buy a car for fun not just necessity which is why I’m interested in the Aptera. It would be the first thing that I’ve owned that will be sports car like and with a 600 mile range it will free me from having to plan my weekly trips around SuperChargers.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 1:03 pm
Thanks for compiling the list, Ray!
Proud owner of a Miata and Leaf. Always wondered what it would be like to put the two together…
My parents saw 1 of the 16 Davis’ at the Chatanooga Motorcar Festival and had to show me! I’ll see if I can find that picture.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 1:55 pm
None of those mentioned, but we own a classic Mini. It revolutionized lightweight car design while maximizing passenger space.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 2:56 pm
I owned a 2001 Honda Insight with the 5 speed manual transmission. It was an awesome car to drive, and the mileage was still far above any other gas burning car we’ve ever owned. I made a road trip through the Rockies that was over 72 MPG, and lifetime I think I had something around 68 MPG. It was also fun to drive (very “tossable” due to the lightweight and basically 50/50 weight distribution. It wasn’t fast though, with 0-60 times up in the 10.5 second range, but it was super quick off the line and 0-30 speed was quite fast (because you could hit 30 at redline in first gear :). My dad gave it the nickname of “silver bullet” (which I might reuse for my Luna Aptera).
We’ve also owned several Priuses (Prii?): A first gen, a second gen, and we still own a third gen from 2014. Not exciting, but decent mileage and very dependable. The 2014 is a very nice road trip car, with the full tech package and “Dynamic Cruise Control” (Level 1 autonomous driving).
And I’ve been driving Nissan Leafs since 2011 (leased a 2011, then leased a 2014, and currently own a 2018). I love the E-Pedal in the 2018, and the “ProPilot” is pretty good (Level 2 autonomous). These are great city cars, good for commuting and driving in the metro area (the 2018 has about 145 miles range after 3 years, although I’ve put less than 1000 miles on it since the start of the pandemic, so it might not be typical).
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 3:01 pm
I got a 2000 (Gen1) Insight in 2015, loved it, took it to L.A. and back a couple of times. Had a Honda CRX before that, for a short time, but with less success. Was on the electric quest even earlier: converted a Yamaha 650 to 72-volt EV in 2008.
MemberOctober 9, 2021 at 3:18 pm
Add to the list a Lotus Eleven (mine is a Westfield replica). Photos exist of Keith Duckworth sprawled across the hood of an Eleven with Colin Chapman driving down a runway. Keith, an aerodynamicist who designed the body was looking at tuffs of yarn all over the body and checking airflow. At somewhere around 1100 pounds it is a light weight, about 100hp (1098cc), and Stirling Moss drove it over 141 mph around Monza in the late ‘50s.
My list has included past ownership of a Miata, Honda CRX, 1st gen. Insight, 2nd gen. Insight, and a S1 Lotus Europa. Current stable is a Lotus Esprit Turbo and the Westfield Eleven.
ModeratorOctober 10, 2021 at 10:17 am
I hope the Aptera marketing folks have seen the responses in this thread since they paint a very telling portrait of the past vehicle preferences of current Aptera reservation holders. Here’s a few pics of vehicles that have been mentioned. The white Twike is actually an EV that can be pedaled also.
MemberOctober 11, 2021 at 12:44 pm
I have a ’17 Chevy Volt, which I love for the ability to travel almost exclusively on electric and only fuel up on long road trips. It’s unfortunate that GM prematurely discontinued it. If it was upgraded to a true fast charge and got a little more battery in it, it would be a great transition vehicle until all go electric.
MemberOctober 11, 2021 at 4:14 pm
I owned a first generation Honda CRX Si which had a curb weight of 1900lbs which is very close to the Aptera. And both also share a similar 2 seats up front with cargo in the back hatchback format.
But there the comparison ends as the CRX had a 0.33 coefficient of drag and a 0-60 time of 9.8 seconds. And it was definitely not an EV.
ModeratorOctober 12, 2021 at 9:31 am
I am surprised that in the two-seater list, a wide range of very successful cars were left off. Our favorite, was a 2002 Porsche Boxster that we drove for over a decade throughout Europe. Small but comfortable interior. Front and back trunks. Great travel machine. For me, Aptera is a two-seat sports car with, possibly, even better performance and roughly half the price. Nowadays, the Boxster/Cayman interior is fancy to the point of being gaudy, so I value the Aptera’s simplicity, closer to our 2002 Porsche. Of course, the best example might be the original Porsche “bathtub” or, my very first car, a MG TD.
MemberOctober 12, 2021 at 1:49 pm
Suprised theres not already an Insight owners club on here.
I have been dailying mine for the past 4 years averaging 50-60mpg. got 72mpg out of a 120 mile trip once.. I drive it too hard haha. Sought the citrus green one when I decided I needed an Insight when my commute got crazy.
(2 seater)Also have a Suzuki Cappuccino. Smaller and more efficient than a miata, and with a turbo.
Plan on getting a Reliant Robin/Rialto soon.
Insight, fun, unique, efficient.
Aptera, Craxy fun unique efficient and fast.
MemberOctober 12, 2021 at 4:31 pm
Another EV Gene Corbin Sparrow around 20 years ago
3 wheel 144 volts
ModeratorOctober 12, 2021 at 4:50 pm
It’s been a long strange trip. I had a deposit on one of these. Reports of problems with early production examples convinced me to get my deposit back after waiting for about a year for the factory to deliver. The company went bankrupt soon after.
To bring the Corbin story up to date, Dana Myers, an Ohio businessman, bought the assets of Corbin Sparrow once that California-based company went belly up. Mr. Myers is apparently still in business with a more refined version(s) at: https://www.myersev.com/about.html
Have no idea about how good, bad, or indifferent his latest version are in production form. Guess the moral of the story is that it’s not easy to produce a low-volume EV and stay in business.
MemberFebruary 26, 2022 at 7:41 pm
The Sparrow showroom was right down the street from my second studio in San Francisco. Went in there often looking at them. As is the case for a company with the right idea at a time that wasn’t quite right, Sparrow was one of them. I remember that they trotted out the same “average US commute miles” as does Aptera. They were the google glass of 3 Wheel EV’s.
MemberFebruary 27, 2022 at 10:26 am
I ended up buying one. Very dependable but the Pb batteries (optima yellow tops) only had a 30 mile range. If only we had Li battery back then. Had if for about 1.5 years. Sold it when I moved. Fun to drive though.
MemberFebruary 26, 2022 at 11:52 am
Just watched a review of the new Morgan three wheeler. Interesting design although it’s more classic is built for customisation and adventure. I hope aptera will be adapted as a leisure vehicle and made more suitable for adventure.
MemberFebruary 26, 2022 at 7:31 pm
I converted a 1992 Honda Civic hatchback into a low drag streamliner in 2005, dropping the Cd from .34 to .17 in the process. It got 72 mpg at 70 mph in the summer and averaged mpg in the lower 70’s on my 52 mile commute.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Michael Turner.
ModeratorSeptember 26, 2023 at 3:55 am
Michael, I don’t know how I missed your post. Kudos to you on your Civic project. I remember seeing pictures of it and admiring it way back when. Delighted to cross trails with the builder!
MemberFebruary 27, 2022 at 8:50 am
Haven’t driven any of these vehicles. BUT I can make a dutch contribution with our own dutch brand The electric carver:
and the original carver one:
Many years ago(1999) there was a three wheeled version of this vehicle and in that sense it is a spiritual ancestor of the Aptera.
Unfortunately the original carver company went bankrupt. But this electric version has a good chance of becoming very popular.
MemberMarch 14, 2023 at 1:15 pm
The Carver reminded me of the F300 Life-Jet concept from Mercedes. I think I like the more Aptera-like format of the Mercedes with two wheels in front, but the leaning is exceptional. The moment I saw the Aptera, I was hoping they would engineer it to eventually lean into curves… but, of course, that would add unnecessary cost and complexity.
How cool to be able to drive a car through switchbacks with VERY high limits to the speeds at which you could take them without upsetting your passengers with lateral g-forces.
MemberMarch 14, 2023 at 1:34 pm
Thanks for the pic! I wonder somewhere down the distant road if APTERA would consider a leaning vehicle. Wouldn’t it solve the width problem for Europe by using the lean for stability, thus allowing for a narrower front track profile? Not trying to stir a hornets nest here, as I do find the latest iteration of APTERA a beautiful work of art.
MemberMarch 14, 2023 at 4:39 pm
One of the videos I saw with Jason Hill, he said they prioritized the design for side by side instead of tandem passengers, so I don’t think a leaning Aptera is ever going to be in the cards. Myself being a motorcycle rider, was really hoping the Nimbus would survive the birthing process because, I do love to lean into the twisties.
MemberMay 23, 2023 at 11:31 am
Had never even heard of the Nimbus! Cool! Just needs solar panels, haha!
MemberMay 23, 2023 at 11:27 am
No prob! Yeah, I don’t think it would be likely… but also not impossible. Assuming the success with the primary model, their next priorities would definitely be a four door, then maybe a small SUV that will hopefully have air bag suspension so that it can ride at a far more slippery height when at speeds above 45mph or whatever. But from there, if demand could justify it, I don’t see why they couldn’t try a leaning, inline-seated model. Except that’s exactly where it dies, because Americans just don’t tend to want such things. Personally, I would be stoked, especially since they could probably get it down to 75 WHs per mile or less with a design like that. I wouldn’t necessarily want it as my ONLY car, but for one in the family would be cool, fun, and super practical for most days. A 16 KWH battery could get you about 250 miles! I don’t know… the more I talk about it, the more I think, given Aptera’s approach, how cheap it would be to own/drive, how fun it would be, etc., it’s possible there could be a market for something like that.
MemberSeptember 24, 2023 at 9:02 am
Dang, how young Jeremy, Richard, and James were back then!
MemberFebruary 27, 2022 at 6:24 pm
On a visit to the GM Tech Center in the early 80s, I saw a pre-production Pontiac Fiero. It was love at first sight. I ordered one as soon as GM opened up ordering. I had the 4 cylinder in that one. It was way underpowered so I bought a 6 cylinder when they became available in the 85 model year. That had adequate power. Lots of fun to drive.
Years later, my job took me to the Lansing, MI plant where the GM EV1s were being made. After we got done with the meeting, we took a tour of the assembly line and got to drive one of the finished EV1s. As homely as it looked, I was surprisingly impressed on how quick it was. Quiet too.
I had a brief infatuation with the Pulse, but never got to drive one.
Now, along comes Aptera. If they make it to production, I will have one.
Shhhhh! Don’t tell the wife.
MemberMay 23, 2023 at 11:36 am
The EV1 was a fantastic early EV. Unfortunately, I was too young at the time to drive it, but somehow got an invite that allowed me to attend a GM event that my folks took me to where they had one on a closed course, so you could really dive into turns autocross-style. We were expecting it to be a slug, but man did that thing move. I think my mom and I had more fun in that than the Corvette, ha! Then again, it was an automatic Corvette, so… my mom was NOT happy about that. “This sin’t a REAL ‘Vette!” she said after spotting the gear selector. Haha!
MemberMarch 1, 2022 at 8:49 pm
Fun post! For me actually owning any of these, just from EV crowd: Volt, Spark, Bolt, Tesla.
But I so wanted a GM EV1, and before that, a Fiero GT (The 1988 model year was the best of them – test drove one when graduating from college, but wound up with a VW GTI). And the Lotus Europa was THE CAR that made me fall in love with cars as a youngster.
MemberMarch 4, 2022 at 10:31 pm
My favorite car I’ve owned and owned 2 of them over the years were the bertone x1/9
I had a fiero which was not nearly as fun to drive as the bertone
Should the aptera take longer than 2023-24
This strikes my fancy The NOBE
- This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by James Lee.
MemberMarch 5, 2022 at 1:39 pm
I got hooked on efficiency because last year I traded in a Nissan Leaf for a Hyundai Ioniq, and it was so strange that the Ioniq had a smaller battery but 30 miles more range, and this meant I had to charge a lot less often, straight away I went 2 months without using a public charging point, and it meant I charged far faster (3 times faster on home charging point). And I’d done all that with less battery! It really hammered home how life-changing efficiency can be.
MemberMarch 7, 2022 at 5:25 am
Still enjoying my Solectria Force. Been a good dependable EV. Has all the things, 3 phase ac induction motor, regenerative brakes, air conditioning. In the early ‘90s Solectria had a couple cool prototypes, the Flash and the Lightspeed. Both had 250 watts of solar built in. The 3 wheeled Flash was the most efficient at 60 Wh/mile. They make my Force seem like an energy hog at 190 Wh/mi.
MemberMarch 7, 2022 at 11:51 am
Bought a brand new 2000 Honda Insight in 2000; 5 speed. Best car I’ve ever owned and wish they still made it with some very minor updates; blue tooth, keyless entry, back up camera, etc. Had to sell it when wifey and I started kicking out kids. Once drove it from Cincinnati to Cleveland round trip (500 miles) and averaged 75 miles to a gallon. With the federal tax credit I paid somewhere around $15,000.00